2010: The Networking Year in Review

2010 was a big year for networking as new standards emerged for speed, security and power; and vendors rolled out new innovations.

 By Sean Michael Kerner
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2010 was a busy year for networking professionals with market shifts debuting that will impact networking for years to come. New standards emerged for speed, power and security; vendors debuted new high end routers shattering previous performance levels; and new vendor rivalries emerged as the market consolidated.

Networking standards

After years of debate and discussion, 2010 was the year in which new high speed Ethernet standards were ratified. In June, the IEEE 802.3ba standard for 100 gigabit and 40 gigabit per second Ethernet (GbE) networking was approved.

Multiple vendors -- including Cisco, Juniper, Alcatel-Lucent and Brocade -- announced 100 GbE enabled platforms for service providers as the speed of networking raced forward. On the 40 GbE side, multiple vendors including Blade Networks announced 40 GbE-capable switching platforms for data centers.

While the IEEE 802.3ba standard deals with the top end of Ethernet performance, another IEEE standard was ratified during 2010 to help enterprises with their energy conservation efforts. The IEEE 802.3az standard for Energy Efficient Ethernet was ratified in October. With Energy Efficient Ethernet a new low power state for idle periods and low utilization has been introduced to Ethernet networking. HP has already jumped into the ring for Energy Efficient Ethernet with a new lineup of switch modules which were announced earlier this month.

2010 was also the year in which Network Access Control (NAC ) was finally standardized. At the Interop Las Vegas conference in April, the first implementation of the IETF Network Endpoint Assessment (NEA) standard was demonstrated. With NEA, rival network access control standards from the Trusted Computing Group (TNC) and Cisco now have a standardized baseline.

DNSSEC uptake increases

2010 also marked a pivotal moment for the Internet networking, as the root zone of the Internet was signed for DNSSEC in July. With DNSSEC in root DNS, critically important DNS information now benefits from cryptographic integrity to ensure authenticity.

To date, over 50 Top Level Domains (TLDs) around the world have been secured by DNSSEC including .org and .net. The .com TLD is set to be signed for DNSSEC during the first quarter of 2011.

Big routers

2010 was also a banner year for networking vendors announcing new top-end routers. Cisco announced its CRS-3 in March. The CRS-3 is an evolution of Cisco previous top-end platform, the CRS-1 which debuted in 2004. According to Cisco, the CRS-3 platform can potentially scale to deliver 322 terabits per second of routing capacity.

Not to be outdone, Juniper Networks announced a new top-end core router of its own with the new T4000 in November. The T4000 is an evolution of the Juniper T1600 router which debuted in 2007. According to Juniper, the T4000 will deliver 4 Terabits per second in a half rack chassis, with up to 240 Gbps per slot of capacity and 2 billion packets per second of forwarding capacity.

This article was originally published on Dec 23, 2010
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